Rugby clubs in Borders given go-ahead to continue winter break in bid to curb spread of Covid

Rugby clubs in the Borders and beyond have been given the thumbs-up by the sport’s governing body to postpone fixtures lined up for this weekend as part of ongoing efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.

By Darin Hutson
Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 4:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 2:30 pm
Hawick, seen here hosting Edinburgh Accies last month, are among the clubs due to resume their seasons this weekend as things stand (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Hawick, seen here hosting Edinburgh Accies last month, are among the clubs due to resume their seasons this weekend as things stand (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Fixtures in the Tennent’s Premiership and the national leagues are due to resume this coming Saturday, January 8, after the sport’s festive break, but that return to competitive action now looks likely to be put back at least a week.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Rugby Union said today: “Given the continued rise in Covid-19 numbers over the festive period – topping 20,000 positive cases yesterday – we have taken the decision to allow clubs to postpone their scheduled adult club league fixtures this weekend.

“That decision was taken last night following feedback from clubs, discussion with president Ian Barr and vice-president Colin Rigby and to remain consistent with Scottish Rugby’s desire throughout the pandemic that the wellbeing of the rugby community is paramount.

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“In addition to the rise in Covid cases, the subsequent impact on numbers of people self-isolating and potential strains on travel and changing-room usage were also factors in the decision.

“Scottish Rugby will continue to monitor the situation carefully and will update clubs next week regarding fixtures scheduled for next weekend, January 15 and 16.

Gavin Scott, director of rugby development at the SRU, added: “This has been a tough decision as we try to find a balance between looking out for each other and our responsibilities to wider society during the current rise in Covid numbers and, at the same time, not being overly dogmatic.

“Training and playing rugby are still considered a low-risk activity from the guidance we have received from the Scottish Government and public health experts, so, as part of that balance, what we are saying to clubs today is you can still train and play this weekend as long as you ensure any activity is in line with our current measures and Scottish Government guidance.

“In the event that clubs, on consultation with each other, decide that they would prefer that their fixtures are rescheduled to a later date, they may take advantage of a blanket waiver that allows that rescheduling to happen with no penalty imposed on either team. To take advantage of this, clubs should inform the relevant committee secretary by e-mailing [email protected]

“I thank all supervising the competitions and match officials for their help to facilitate such arrangements.

“We intend to advise what league fixtures clubs decide to play this weekend by Friday.”

Premiership games lined up for Saturday, as things stand, include home matches for Selkirk and Jed-Forest against GHA and Marr respectively and a trip to Glasgow Hawks for Hawick.

Fixtures already cancelled in the Borders for fear of fuelling the spread of Covid include Gala’s Waverley Cup match against Melrose on Sunday, December 26, and Jed-Forest’s Border League game against Peebles on Tuesday, December 28, along with an east-versus-west Boxing Day friendly in Hawick.